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Lady Bulldogs blistering with undefeated record

January 30, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Not even two road games nor a horrific snow storm could stop the blistering Poland girls basketball team last week.

Poland's ladies continued their unbeaten run with wins over Struthers and Girard. Those back-to-back victories were preceded by another home win over South Range. The Lady Bulldogs sensational streak has now reached 16 wins in a row and they are atop the newly formed Northeast 8 with a 9-0 mark. Poland is also now ranked in the top five of the Associated Press' Division II rankings. It all adds up to a very enjoyable time for all involved with the Poland program.

"There's a little bit more hype because of our record and state ranking," said Poland head coach Nick Blanch, "but it's fun because I love being around these kids."

Blanch's Bulldogs had tons of fun last Thursday night at rival Girard. Senior Sarah Bury had a very active first quarter for the Bulldogs with four steals and two rebounds. Her versatility helped Poland jut out to a 19-3 lead after one period. As has been the case in most of their wins this year, the rest of the game was a breeze for the Bulldogs. The way Bury led the way in the opening frame is exactly how a winning team such as Poland stays dominant.

"You don't need twenty scorers, you need people to get rebounds, assists and to give others breathers without a huge drop off," said Blanch. "That's been our focus. We've worked very hard on that."

Of course, the Bulldogs have worked very hard on putting the ball into the hoop too. Leading the way against Girard was Bury who had 14 points. Senior guard Kat Partika was right behind Bury with 12 points. Super sophomore Jackie Grisdale hit three 3-pointers to finish with 10 points.

The wicked weather from last Saturday moved the showdown at Struthers Fieldhouse back a couple nights, but it didn't stop Blanch's bunch from blowing out the Lady Wildcats 51-31.

After a sluggish first period, Poland outscored Struthers 19-15 in the second stanza to take a 25-17 halftime lead. Poland's defense didn't allow the Wildcats to score double figures in any of the final two frames as the Bulldogs took the second half 26-14. Bury and Grisdale were the leaders for the Bulldogs with 17 and 15 points respectively. Bury buried three of five 3-point attempts.

On Jan. 14 Poland plastered South Range 57-43 at home behind Bury's 20 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Grisdale gained 10 points to go along with five rebounds and three steals.

Although the Bulldogs haven't been challenged much all year their next big challenge will be playing three of the next four games on the road. That stretch started this past Monday night at Lakeview. Poland's Bulldogs beat up those other Bulldogs 66-20 back on December 17. Poland also jumped all over Jefferson at home 85-37 on Dec. 20. Those two schools will meet again on January 31. Certainly, Blanch's group will be heavy favorites in both of those clashes as well as the rest of the rematches with the other NE8 squads. That doesn't mean that the Bulldogs are going to relax the remainder of the regular season.

"We're not satisfied," said Blanch. "We still have a long way to go and we have more goals."



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